Let's get real, feeling bloated is annoying and uncomfortable. It easily might be one of the least favorite symptoms women deal with during their periods 😩While it may not be the best feeling in the world, bloating is completely normal.
Why does bloating happen in the first place?
Well, you can thank the fluctuations in your estrogen levels and a sharp drop in progesterone right before your period.
Progesterone, which is high in the latter half of your cycle, can slow down digestion, leading to exacerbated bloating symptoms.
Bloating usually starts to kick in one to two days before the start of your period. Good news is, it usually goes away once you've been menstruating for a few days.
So, what can you do to alleviate bloating?
Even though feeling bloated is habitual, it’s totally valid to want to go about your daily routine without any added discomfort during your period.
We’ve outlined below some of the easiest steps you can take to get rid of bloating!
Avoid eating too much salt: salt and other components in processed foods are not the healthiest for you, especially when you’re on your period. Instead, focus on consuming fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, nuts, and seeds, as well as other wholesome foods 🍎
Stay away from foods that cause gas: yep, we’re looking at you, Brussels sprouts! Unfortunately, Brussel sprouts contain a complex sugar called raffinose. Humans lack the proper enzyme to break raffinose down, which leads to gas and bloating.
Drink lots of water: make sure to stay extra hydrated on the days leading up to your period as water helps rid the body of excess sodium.
Avoid drinking fizzy beverages: although they might make you feel better temporarily, carbonated drinks will leave you feeling way more bloated than before.
Skip alcohol and caffeine: both of these can contribute to bloating and other symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). If skipping your morning cup of coffee is a complete no-no, try replacing it with tea, or decaf coffee ☕
Exercise regularly: movement is key to reducing your PMS symptoms. A few hours of moderate physical activity a week can get your heart rate up, which is one of the best ways to deflate bloating, help expel gas, and help move your digestive system along 🏃♀️
When is a doctor’s visit necessary?
If home remedies don’t reduce your bloating before and during your period, you may want to talk to your OB-GYN about other treatments.
Although bloating is super normal, if it doesn’t seem to sync up with your cycle and is occurring more frequently than not, your body could be out of balance. Your PMS symptoms and bloating shouldn’t be causing you significant distress.
The more you tune into your body and become aware of how you feel each day, the easier it will be for you to manage your symptoms accordingly!